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Landmarks adds Sol LeWitt works to public art collection of the University of Texas at Austin
Sol LeWitt, Circle with Towers, 2005/2012. Concrete block, 168 x 308 inches diameter. Purchase, The University of Texas at Austin, 2011. Photo: Mark Menjivar.
AUSTIN, TX.- Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin, brings two works by renowned artist Sol LeWitt to the Austin campus. The 14-foot-tall structure entitled Circle with Towers enhances the Speedway entrance to the new Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall, and Wall Drawing #520 adds vivid color to three walls leading to the auditorium of the complex.

Recognized as a pioneer of modern and conceptual art, Sol LeWitt proposed a different model for artistic creation that elevated the concept of an artwork over its execution. He likened his role as an artist to that of an architect or composer, preparing a detailed set of plans for others to fulfill. Two works now in the Landmarks collection follow this approach: A master draftsman from the LeWitt estate used the artist’s diagram to orchestrate the execution of each work while the hands of local Austin artists and masons gave them shape. In keeping with LeWitt’s wishes and collaborative approach, the team of artists is recognized for their critical/creative role in helping to realize his work.

Made entirely of concrete block, Circle with Towers is a low circular wall 25 feet in diameter, punctuated by eight vertical towers spaced at equal intervals. It illustrates LeWitt’s use of modular structures and simple, geometric forms. Designed for interaction, the structure provides a social gathering place for the community, as well as an artistic focal point on one of the university’s major pedestrian thoroughfares. The university acquired the three-dimensional work in 2011 from The New York-based Madison Square Park Conservancy, the original commissioning entity for the piece.

In 2012 Landmarks secured a 25 year renewable loan from the Estate of Sol LeWitt for Wall Drawing #520: Tilted forms with colored ink washes superimposed. This represents the first time in twenty-five years that the drawing has been exhibited since its initial installation at The Whitney Museum of American Art’s 1987 Whitney Biennial. While it differs from the concrete block structure outside in its colorful two-dimensionality, both works feature the cube as subject, a signature motif in LeWitt’s work.

“Circle with Towers and Wall Drawing #520 provide an important introduction to the nature of conceptual art for many in our community,” said Andrée Bober director of Landmarks. “Having these two works in close proximity allows viewers to recognize the consistent elements in LeWitt’s work and appreciate the collaborative spirit and contextual interpretations of his ideas.”

Both efforts were funded through the capital improvement project of the Department of Computer Science at the university. Bruce Porter, chairman of the Department of Computer Science said, “While not obvious at first glance, there are deep parallels between Sol LeWitt’s work and computer coding, the work of the computer sciences field. Both rely on a sense of calibrated order and repetition, both can be understood as generative languages and both are elegant in their simplicity.”

Landmarks is the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. Its collection contains more than 30modern and contemporary works. The collection and its supporting programs enhance the university’s position as a leading education and research institution and provide a source of civic pride and welfare.





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